Onward Israel 2017: Week 7

Shalom Cincinnati!

This week marked our last official week of work… it feels so weird to say that out loud. This was a work week full of goodbyes and lots of thank you celebrations from our coworkers and bosses for our hard work at their companies this summer. This week, Andrea and I thought it would be a good idea to end the “blog features” with ourselves since we never really told you guys about our individual internships. Although we didn’t get around to featuring everybody on the trip, each person had their own unique experience at their internships and we are all so grateful for such an amazing opportunity!

Name: Yael Friedstrom
University: The Ohio State University 

This summer, I interned at a place called Reuth Rehabilitation Center. Reuth is a long-term care facility for people whose motor and/or cognitive functions have been impaired due to illness or injury. There are various units of the hospital, including pediatric ICU, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and many more. Some of the patients are war veterans who have been injured and are there to receive prosthetics and lots of therapy. It is a very inspirational place to be; to watch people come in with various diseases and injuries and leave 100 times better and in such high spirits.

My specific role at Reuth was to work in the ICU and lend a helping hand to the nurses and other health professionals in the unit. Some of my tasks included handling blood samples, retrieving medicines, and communicating patient status. I also provided comfort and care to about 25 patients, which included playing games with and feeding them. One particular patient, Eva, really touched my heart. Every time she saw me, she smiled and talked to me and every time I came over to play her favorite game of Rummikub with her she would tell me how much I made her day. I sure will miss her!  

Aside from these tasks, I was also able to experience the health field in a foreign country which was extremely interesting and different from what I was used to in America. Overall, my experience at Reuth has been an incredible one and I will take the skills I learned and the memories I made with me for the rest of my life. 

Name: Andrea Goldstein
University: Tulane University 

This summer, I spent eight weeks interning for SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking), an innovation consulting firm headquartered in Tel Aviv. The firm’s existence stems from the SIT innovation technique, developed by Cincinnati native Drew Boyd and an Israeli academic named Jacob Goldenberg. Although this connection had little to do with my daily work, I always enjoyed the occasional run-in with an employee who had visited the founder in my hometown.

My role within SIT has been to leverage my English skills and outside perspective of the company to create case studies from SIT’s past five years of client work. With the help of our consultants, editors, and designers, I managed the creation of over 18 unique case studies that will be used for business development and internal knowledge management. Additionally, I contributed to projects surrounding relationship management with SIT’s largest client, and competitive research for a new and expanding project.

Outside of my direct responsibilities, I spent a great deal of time learning about the SIT innovation method and how it affects much of the business world today. The company regularly set up information sessions for myself and the other interns, all of whom were on a separate program from Princeton, to learn more about the innovation tools and insights that SIT offers. I had an overall wonderful experience, and feel that I gained invaluable knowledge for future internships and my eventual career.

To start the weekend last week, a few of us visited our favorite Café Xoho (of course) for brunch before heading to the art market right next to the Carmel Market. This art market is filled with various artists around Israel who come to Tel Aviv every Tuesday and Friday and display their work. There are so many amazing pieces of art; from Jewish/Israeli inspired jewelry, wind chimes, home and kitchen décor, paintings, photographs, and something really cool that we saw was a glass blower blowing his glass for all of us to see. 

Being at the art market and the Shuk Hacarmel on Friday (right before Shabbat) is quite the experience. You don’t really see something like this anywhere else. People are running around like animals in an attempt to get all of the ingredients and everything they need for the weekend before everything closes for approximately 24 hours once Shabbat begins. Watching the craziness of everybody scrambling is really amazing knowing that in just a few hours almost everything will be closed and most people will be with their families enjoying a peaceful Shabbat dinner. I love that on Shabbat everything just stops. 

Above: Some of the many handmade artworks at the art market.

Some people went to a national park called Appolonia in Herzliya this week! It is home to interesting history, archaeology, and a beautiful sea. 

Also this week, a lot of the group went to a famous restaurant in Jaffa called Old Man and The Sea. This restaurant attracts so many people because they serve unlimited salads and other small dishes as soon as you sit down. Eight of us showed up and as we were sitting, waiters came with 24 small dishes. It was incredible and some amazing food! It’s also a great spot because it is right on the gorgeous Jaffa Port, so you can watch the sunset while enjoying your dinner. 

Above: A dazzling display of all the small dishes you receive at Old Man and The Sea!

We also explored more areas of Flortenin, the area that we live in, this week. We had heard so much about a graffiti tour in Florentin, so we decided to do our own graffiti tour. It was so cool to see all the walls around the town covered in amazing artwork. 

Above: Really cool graffiti all around Florentin.

For our night activity this week with our amazing madrich, Liav, we did an escape room at a place called Out of the Box! When you get to the escape room, you and your group of 5 or 6 receive a mission and are then placed inside a themed escape room where you have to find all of the (many) hidden clues, solve puzzles, and escape the room before time runs out. The time limit is one hour and we definitely needed all of it. There were four groups of 5 or 6 and we each managed to successfully escape, whether it took 30 minutes or 59 minutes. The themes ranged from “African Stone” to “Circus Pinpunk”. It was such a fun way to get the group together and do something out of the ordinary. 

Above: Sandra Glazer, Daniel Youkilis, Esther Kaplan, Jemma Shi, and Bayla Fisher dressed up in their “Circus Pinpunk” gear at the escape room.

Above: Some of us at the escape room! 

This week, we also had Onward Connection Day where 1,800 of us who had come to Israel through an Onward or other group program got together at a convention center in Jerusalem to make connections and listen to various inspirational speakers. This day was a really good way to form relationships with other Onward participants and learn more about people’s experiences in Israel. 

In the last few days here in Israel, we will be soaking up every second! This weekend will include a family Shabbat dinner made by all of us, last minute restaurant visits we’ve been dying to go to, lots of visits to the shuk and the beach, and quality time spent with everybody. 

Above: My personal favorite spot in Tel Aviv – the Tamara juice stand -- that serves fresh on the spot juices, smoothies, and acai bowls.

For our last and final blog, which will be after we arrive back in Cincinnati, we will be reflecting on our time here in Tel Aviv. 

Something I wanted to bring up for this blog may not be as happy and cheerful as most other things on the blogs, but I think it is extremely important to acknowledge. With tensions rising in Israel, things have been extremely heartbreaking here. While we all feel, and are, very safe, it is impossible to look past what is going on in Israel right now. My heart hurts and I can only hope for a peaceful future for this beautiful, lively, incredible country. 

I remember a quote from John F. Kennedy that has stuck with me to this day; “Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom”.

Above: A powerful piece of graffiti in Florentin that I thought fit my feelings about everything happening in the world right now.

Shavua Tov and we will see you all in 5 days!
Yael Friedstrom


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